An authentic Venetian

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Kind, quiet but above all ironic. Margaretha has been working at CMCC for 10 years now, where she focuses on climate change adaptation within the ECIP Division. Let’s get to know her better!

A conversation with Ottavia Carlon

What’s your job at the CMCC Foundation?
I deal with climate change impacts, especially in urban areas, both from the impact and adaptation strategies points of view. Currently, I am working on two projects: one is the ETC/CCA, coordinated by CMCC, which involves supporting the European Environment Agency (EEA) in providing sound environmental information on urban and social adaptation to climate change. This project is quite interesting as it entails a mediation role between the science world and the final beneficiaries of the policies. We often exchange information with local entities and facilitate the interchange of experiences to improve policies.
The other project I am involved in is ADRIADAPT: an inter-regional project between Italy and Croatia, in which we are working on a platform with specific information to help some small municipalities in the Adriatic area develop effective adaptation tools.

Which road led you to CMCC?
I graduated in city planning and upon arriving to Italy started working as a temporary employee in different universities. The work developed at CMCC offers me the opportunity to merge my conception of space (derived from my urban studies) with economic, environmental and adaptation policies. This was possible because the topics I deal with, coastal areas before and now cities, are entities with a precise spatial localization and on which policies have different impacts according to their geographical position. This “spatial” aspect, that can be found in policies such as coastal management or marine area planning, is particularly interesting for me.

Is your current job the one you had dreamed of when you were a child?
To be frank, when I was a little girl I wanted to be a flight assistant. At the time flying was not so common, so it was considered a prestigious job. Unfortunately, I then grew up a lot, and being more than 1.80 metres tall, I had to think of another job (laughs, ed).

Could you tell us about the most important moment in your career life at CMCC?
Recently, winning the ADRIADAPT project was a great satisfaction because it received very good feedback and also considering other Horizon projects I worked in, I can say this was a real success.

Do you often work in the office or from home? What ritual is never missing from your workday?
I almost always come to the office even though I could work from home. I like chatting with colleagues and most importantly it is a good way to stay off the fridge (laughs, ed). I don’t have a specific ritual, but I would say that occasional chats and lunch with my co-workers are my pleasant daily routine.

How do you travel to work?
Since we moved offices from San Giorgio Maggiore Island to the VEGA, my commute time to work has increased notably, but I am happy with that: before, I lived too close to the office, only two stops by vaporetto, and I had the feeling I wasn’t seeing anything of “the world”. Now that the route is longer, I enjoy it more, and when the weather is good I use my bicycle for the terrestrial part of the path.

What do you do in your spare time?
Now I have more spare time than before because my children are grown up. However, as of always I devote all my free time to sport. In particular, I am an enthusiastic performer of venetian rowing, which is one of the reasons I decided to stay in Venice; I met my husband while rowing! Venetian rowing is performed standing inside the boat, and it was the traditional way of moving around in the lagoon. It used to be popular all around the Mediterranean, but in Venice it is still performed competitively with races and contests. It is a very important element of the venetian culture, and for me it represents a unique channel to get in touch and merge with the different social realities existing in the city.

Cinema or literature?
Literature. I am currently reading a very interesting book called “Benevolenza cosmica” by Fabio Bacà. It is the strange story of a man who is living a period of extreme and unbelievable luck. I still haven’t finished it… I hope the ending doesn’t ruin it all for him!
Another thing I often do is listen to podcasts while biking. A programme I particularly like is Fahrenheit, in which every day they present a book. I often take inspiration for my next readings from them.

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